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Obama and Biden crossed paths at Arlington National Cemetery, where the pair took part in a brief wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, which featured a traditional playing of taps. The two then split, with Obama and his family attending church services at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church to a full crowd. In the midst of the service, at the encouragement of a pastor, the congregation and others in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to first lady Michelle Obama.
The sermon used the “forward” theme from Obama’s re-election campaign, with the Rev. Ronald E. Braxton employing the slogan throughout his remarks. The boisterous call-and-response grew in intensity during the sermon. “Forward was the only option,” Braxton said at one point, retelling the story of Moses.
The president will next appear Sunday night at an inaugural gala.
On Monday, Roberts and Obama will be repeating the oath on the West Front of the Capitol for the public inaugural ceremony — followed by the president’s big speech. A luncheon and parade are scheduled to follow the swearing-in ceremony.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.